The clash component of a presidential debate sets it apart from other types of campaign messages because the candidates are faced with a potential for “imminent rebuttal” not found in other types of messages, such as television spots or stump speeches. This study is a rhetorical analysis of the 1960 and 2000 presidential debates and attempts to identify the specific points of stasis (clash) where two arguments meet. These points of stasis are labeled in the classic rhetorical theory literature as conjectural, qualitative, definitional, and translative. The study tests the application of these categories as a precursor to future research employing content analytic methods.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.